"Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service." - Bhagavad Gita, 3.14
'Tis the season...or so I'm told. While I do struggle with the dark side of the holiday season (that obligatory shopping to prove our love for each other) I do so enjoy the lighter side of the holidays (that generous, genuine caring for and giving to one another). It just so happens that there's a Sanskrit word for that: seva! Seva is an important concept in many Indian traditions, and especially in yoga. It means to serve selflessly, to serve God by serving others, because we are all made of the same essence of whatever you might think of as God: spirit, creator, universe, science, art, love, Self. Seva is a universal concept: I think we all see the value in helping others. And it just so happens that it's high time for Infinity Crossing to do our seva with 1% for the 'Aina!
This time, I've chosen to give to the East Maui Animal Refuge, more commonly known around these parts as the Boo Boo Zoo. For over 30 years, the East Maui Animal Refuge (EMAR) has been a no-kill, all volunteer-run, non profit, rehabilitation sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals. EMAR is licensed by both the State and Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate animals - including threatened and endangered species. They were the only people we were told to call when we found an owl floundering on the roadside some months ago, and they've been in my mind ever since. Thank you for the sweet, and no doubt at times heartbreaking, work you do for all the creatures of our 'aina!
In the seva of the season, I'd like to encourage all of you to make at least one of your gifts a charitable one. I'm not just talking about money, here. Most of us don't have much of that to give. It doesn't even have to be giving to an organization. You could organize your own seva in the form of a cleanup day or helping an individual in need. If you do choose to give to an organization, many are in great need of volunteers, equipment, supplies, and professional services and are happy to accept donations in whatever form you might have to offer. I always have a hard time choosing an organization when it comes time to do our 1% for the 'Aina donation, so I thought I'd post some of my list here in the hopes that we as a yoga community might be able to cover more ground than little 'ole me alone. You can also cruise our previous 1% for the 'Aina recipients to keep the love flowing. There are so many organizations out there: please do your own research before you donate to decide which organization tugs at your heartstrings and will be responsible with your donation. I hope you'll find room to extend your seva and the spirit of your holiday giving to one of these wonderful Maui nonprofits, or take the time to give to a personal favorite of your own. If you have a favorite you want to add, post it in the comments to spread the good word. Mahalo and happy giving!!